It's Mets For Me: Off-Beat, Tangentially Relevant Mets Ruminations

Off Base Since 2005! Mets commentary from the counter-intuitive to the unintuitive and all the intuitives in between. ** "Through the use of humor and gross inaccuracy...a certain truth can be gained." Rob Perri ** (pester me at:itsmetsforme@gmail.com or follow me @itsmetsforme on twitter)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Reflections on the NLDS

I like the Dodgers. Really I do. They have history, a funny mascot (named Tommy Lasorda), a criminally underrated ballpark, and good hotdogs. Also, (certain things that happened in 1988 excepted) in my lifetime they usually can be trusted to give it up to the Metsies.

Given the Mets last minute injuries, before the series these two teams could plausibly be said to be even steven. I have to admit that the Dodgers scared me the most out of all the potential NL matchups, a fact that goes a long way towards explaining my current confidence in a World Series date with destiny. Though the Mets relentless offensive attack, adequate pitching, and team chemistry could be said to be the difference in the series, could the Metropolitans have won the series without the Dodgers mental errors? “The Play,” Furcal not charging Franco-stein’s double-play grounder, Betemit throwing away that ball last night. When the going gets tough, the Dodgers start playing sloppy, at least since the late 90s. That's what turned this park into the NLDS "No luck (for) Dodgers Stadium."

While the Dodgers seemed to go flat after rallying to tie and go ahead courtesy of Jeff Kent and Pedro Feliciano, the Mets started to look like a team of destiny. I mean, the Mets’ other Pedro walked in the go-ahead run in the 5th, one of the most demoralizing plays in baseball, and yet I felt smugly confident. This team just has destiny on its side right now. In this playoff so far, they play confident no-panic baseball, and seem to take advantage of every opponent error, which are really really good signs.

Destiny also seems to have plans for Uncle Cliff Floyd. If Green’s home coming blast doesn’t bounce off the top of the left field wall, does Floyd injure himself running around third? No, he just does the Sanford and Son trot, and all is good. Dammit. Cliff was starting to look comfy at the plate, and while Endy brings his own set of skills to the line-up, it would be nice to get Floyd back in there, if only as a DH should the Mets go all the way. He deserves to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Speaking of injuries, where were the trainers when Jose Reyes got banged up by a runner at second (I think Furcal)? I really don’t care if Reyes waved them away; of course a guy who wants to stay out there is going to do that. Run your ass out there if your star shortstop is limping around the infield, to check on him AND to buy some time for him to catch his breath. How was Reyes going to limp after a ball hit in the hole on the next play? Especially given Reyes injury history, I was flabbergasted that no one attended to him. With the ridiculous amount of calf injuries and other problems the players have suffered this year, I would think the training staff would be on their best behavior.

Who would the Mets match up better with in the NLCS? Well, the Padres seem the less-dangerous team, if only because they are Pujols-less, and I wouldn’t mind a bit of revenge on Trevor Hoffman, who lost NL home advantage and nearly gave me a heart attack on the last day of the season. But who wants to be haunted by the Mikes, or deal with Pad’s pitching either? In the end, to be frank, neither the “House of” Cards, nor a team named after Friars strikes that much fear in my heart. I could get carried away with how much easier the Mets’ path to WS victory just got yesterday, but the good news is that the Mets won’t; they remain even keeled, taking nothing for granted, and saying all the right things. In the playoffs, anything can happen. All I know is, from here on in, it won’t be New York’s corporate team that will be takin’ care of business.
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Sorry to keep discussing them, but ESPN's the New York Yankees are a car crash, and I just can’t look away. ESPN has now started to eat its own, running stories like this one. I guess you can't really call a TV network hypocritical. Anyhow, besides what looks very much like an 80s-style changing of the guard in NY and the dawning of an era of Met ascendance, there are two things to note. First is the impact of yet another demoralizing loss on the upcoming free agent market. What will Ca$hman be looking for and how will it affect Omar’s work with the Mets rotation, which basically needs to be entirely rebuilt? Pedro and Glavine are no sure thing for different reasons, and while the Mets can be hopeful for contributions from the likes of Perez, Bannister, Pelfrey, Humber, and Maine, they can’t bank on them. There is a small scenario where Trashy would be resigned, but Omar is too smart for that, I keep telling myself. Omar will most likely pursue a top tier starter and rely on his strategy of “numbers,” that is, balancing the old and fragile with quantity of pitchers plucked from the discard pile. Second, now that the Bronx team are established chokers, we are hearing that“the Yanks are the new Br*ves.” Well not really. See, as much as I hate to say it, the Br*ves were all and all a classy franchise—that’s what made loosing to them so frustrating. Though they had a high payroll, no one would contest the fact that they were a well-run club from top to bottom. While the Br*ves took each postseason defeat with what passes for grace and dignity, the Spankers take every opportunity to throw each other under the bus. As one Yankers fan noted, how is it that Jeter can take credit for being a leader in good times, and escape blame year after year while never doing what it takes to unify this millionaires’ club in the playoffs? (At this point, one can only jokingly sugest that Jeter's lack of leadership is the problem.) Though it felt good to Mets fans, each inevitable Br*ves postseason exit could not fairly be said to be “good for baseball.” In contrast, if you follow my thinking, the humbling of successive “best line-up ever” and, more importantly, the failure of the strategy of assembling All-Stars no matter how they mesh as a team, and despite what character problems they bring (see Giambi, Sheffield, Randy Johnson), this failure is most certainly “good for baseball.”

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RE: National Baseball Broadcast Teams

Listening to Fox broadcaster Thom Brenneman's game 3 apology to the sight-impaired guy with the special glasses while I watched the taped version of the game (thank god for VCRs) marked a sad occasion. Anyone listening to the game two broadcast, where "Psycho" Steve Lyons and made fun of this guy, Met fan Stephen Teitelbaum, already realized the depths to which national broadcasting has sunk. We ask for insight and we get insensitive. It's bad folks, and even though its sometimes amusing to listen to dumb (Miller) and dumber (Morgan) on ESPN, I start to suspect there is something more insidious going on when the producers at the world wide leader let Morgan's banal theme, "This is a different Kenny Rogers," dominate their entire coverage, from color to field reporting, to interviews. Then they make a ridiculous show of shuttling this Hall of Fame air head between games, supposedly for our benefit. Stunts like this make the Sports Center "Hot Seat" (sponsor name omitted) look like "Masterpiece Theater."

It goes beyond my irritation with the cable giants' Yankee-centrism or Jeter worship. Even if you are partial to one broadcaster or another, the question must be asked, how hard is it to find anyone with real insight to do the play by play or color duties for baseball? Often the choice of ESPN or Fox's broadcasters seems to come down to the lessor of two evils. Is no one qualified for this job? These national cable broadcasters are not even trying to give us a quality product. In fact, it seems that they don't even know how. This is how you end up with Chris Berman, who, when you can hear him, sucks big ass now--he should stick to making up funny middle names and saying back back back. This is how you get Tim Robbins in the booth during crunch time. This, I note with deep regret, is how Steve Phillips happens.

Can't anyone add something to this game anymore?

This problem has already been duly noted with internet "tributes" to Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver. Some of it is just age. Exhibit #1, McCarver, who for my money was once the best announcer in baseball, now brings very little to the game, leading many viewers to see him only as a pompous windbag. Listening to Vin Scully mix up "ball" and "bat" (among other things) on the radio at Dodgers Stadium last night made me realize that an era is sadly coming to a close. But Yankee homer Joe Buck or the aforementioned Lyons have no such excuse. What dumbed baseball broadcasting down? Was it the steroids era, or the Yankers era (which are closely related)? Perhaps the cable era is to blame?

And we complained about irritating, but ultimately harmless shill Fran Healy! In any event, if SNY doesn't mess it up and Keith Hernandez can avoid offending half the audience, we Mets fans have a great broadcast team to look forward to when the World Champion Mets open the 2007 season.

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This blog is meant completely and entirely in jest, unless you count the angst, and is not meant to offend anyone, unless you are a Br*ves fan. It's not affiliated with Sterling, the Mets, common sense, good taste, or anything really.